Little Pim, the learning system for introducing young children to a second language developed by CEO/founder Julia Pimsleur, came to Toy Fair with a new language learning app and a Korean language system, in addition to their previously-introduced product.
It’s all part of the company’s Entertainment Immersion Method, which seeks to engage a child’s natural love of play and learning through repetition.
“We’re rebranding, because we know that language learning is more and more important as a 21st Century skill for kids,” said Little Pim senior VP of sales and marketing Alyson Shapero. “They say that not speaking two languages is the illiteracy of the 21st Century.”
The Little Pim line, which in addition to Korean consists of Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, English and Portuguese programs, offers books, flash cards and plush product (the lovable Little Pim panda bear “teacher”) as well as digital items like vocabulary booster games in iTunes. It is also available on LeapFrog and VTech devices and comes preloaded on the Toys ‘R Us Tabeo tablet.
Besides the Korean language system, Little Pim unveiled its Progress Tracking App, which allows parents to track their child’s increasing foreign language skills. The easy-to-use free app is available on iOS and can also be used on its own, as a flash card game, or in conjunction with the Little Pim video series.
“Julia’s mission is to democratize language learning so that it’s easily accessible, available and affordable,” said Shapero. “She’s created a program with three sales channels: the Little Pim website, select retailers and e-commerce.”
Pimsleur is the daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, creator of the adult language-learning Pimsleur Method. She created Little Pim to give her young son the same opportunity to learn a foreign language, after discovering a lack of high quality language-learning materials for toddlers.
“She grew up in the language learning business and realized the advantage of knowing multiple languages,” said Shapero, “also that the best time to learn is under the age of six. She saw an opening in the market for this product and spent two years creating the method.”
While a 500-word vocabulary is considered “conversational” in foreign language speaking ability, Pimsleur’s Entertainment Immersion Method teaches a child 360 words and phrases in five-minute video episodes totaling 210 minutes of content designed to accommodate young attention spans. Each video is theme based, teaching words like “cake,” “doll” and “train,” along with simple phrases and numbers one through 10—all spoken by native speakers and repeated frequently to forge memorization.
“It teaches a functionality that kids can really learn,” maintained Shapero. “It won’t make them bilingual, but is their introduction to learning a language, at the best time for them to learn.”
“Parents need to understand that the sooner they teach their kids languages, the better,” concluded Shapero, “and Little Pim provides them with the opportunity.”
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